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[liberationtech] Whatsapp, a Trojan horse for seekers of easy privacy?

carlo von lynX lynX at
Thu Jan 15 12:49:05 PST 2015

On Thu, Jan 15, 2015 at 10:45:16AM -0800, Al Billings wrote:
> Insisting that we both can and cannot (at the same time) trust people like Moxie simply because they live in the USA and the NSA exists is stupid.

You are free to trust him to spend a night at your home. I would
if he was my friend, but I never met him. Yet the word "trust" in
politics is the root of most evil, and to entrust a person with the
responsability for millions of people whose civil rights may be
respected or infringed without them even finding out.. well, that
is more than trust. That is irresponsible towards all involved
people, including Moxie.

> I don’t see a suggestion of what jurisdiction the author thinks people can live within where there won’t be the same issues.

Similar issues, at times, but not the same. Like Germany has this
rule that secret service wants access if you're a communications
provider for more than 9'999 users (if I was told correctly).
But the way that law is written it would not allow the secret
service to impose on the company not to deliver end-to-end 
encryption to the users.

The way laws do not apply on this topic is specific to the U.S,
shared only with non-democratic regimes. Only the U.S. Supreme
Court or an amendment to the Constitution could rectify the power
balance between citizen and president in this matter. [1]

You and I know, that no binary distribution should be trusted,
no matter where on Earth it was compiled. But that is not a point
of view the general public is ready to adopt. The mainstream press 
and the majority of people out there still believe that companies
can have an ethos, can actually do what they market, and that
proprietary software could possibly be trustworthy - at least as 
long as the press says good things about it.

To these people it is no viable argumentation to say, you must
only use free software (I say that all the time), but it does
mean something to them to find out that the laws are such that
the promises a company is making are 1. irrelevant and 2. have
to be deceptive because that is what is expected from them. That
*is* news.

At least in other countries this kind of behavior is ILLEGAL.
We don't know if it's not happening, but at least it could get
some people in trouble if they got caught with their hands in
the pudding.

> Which country should people be in where the government isn’t going to try to potentially legally compel them to do things or spy on their communications? Where is your utopia of freedom?

Utopia is nowhere. But you as a U.S. citizen are better off
in most democratic countries on Earth: not only do almost all
countries respect your civil rights even if you're a foreigner
(The U.S. is the only country that treats foreigners as vegetables
by law [1]. Other countries at least infringe their own laws when
they do this.) Plus, by leaving the U.S. the NSA is still supposed
to not spy on you, so it needs the GCHQ to take care of that. It
may be hard to prove, but I believe GCHQ is breaching its laws
when it does that favor to the U.S.

There are more reasons why some countries qualify as "less bad"
but I prefer not to elaborate.

[1] as before


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